It can be difficult to make ends meet after a work injury without a workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, there are too many injured workers that make simple, but costly mistakes during the workers’ compensation process. If you have been injured at work it’s important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities. Find the some practical tips on how to get the most out of your workers’ comp claim.
- Report your injury
- Get medical treatment
- Know your available Workers’ Comp benefits
- Be ready for an independent medical examination
- Be aware of private investigators
- Keep all your records
- Hire a lawyer
Report your injury
The first thing your should do is report the work injury to your supervisor or boss.
The Statute of Limitations is the deadline to file a claim. In Illinois, the claim must be filed within three years from the day the injury occurred, or within two years of the date the employee received their last Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Get medical treatment
You should get medical treatment as soon as possible. It may help to heal quicker and better. On the other hand, it serves as a medical evidence in your workers’ comp claim by documenting your accidents and describing your injuries and physical restrictions.
Know your available workers’ compensations benefits
Illinois workers’ comp benefits include:
- reasonable medical care to cure or relieve the impact of the injury
- temporary total or partial disability benefits
- vocational rehabilitation
- permanent partial or total disability benefits
- death benefits
Workers’ comp benefits are not taxable.
Be ready for an independent medical examination
An independent medical examination (IME) will not focus on treating your injuries; instead the doctor will perform an exam, review your medical records and issue a report. The insurance uses primarily an IME to reduce or terminate you workers’ comp benefits.
Be aware of private investigators
Insurances are very hesitant when it comes to pay. There are claims that involve big amounts that’s why the insurance will hire a private investigator specially if your credibility is on the line.
It’s important that you always say the truth and act as you normally would do.
Keep all your records
It’s always in your best interest to keep copies of your workers’ comp claim; including but not limited to work restrictions, letters from your employer or the insurance company. Many of these records are essential for getting your workers’ comp claim approved and paid.
Hire a lawyer
Consider hiring a lawyer in case the insurance:
- reduces or denies your benefits
- makes a settlement offer, or
- ignores your claim or your requests for information.
A lawyer will look for your best interest and can properly value your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and represent you in an appeal, if necessary.